I always considered space to be the only frontier and not the last. For this reason, I gleefully soaked up every space or alien TV show (rather than Westerns) that shot its cathode rays across the living room. I was born in the mid-70's, which put me in the middle of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Deep Space Nine and Voyager would come later but by the time they splashed across my TV screen I was mind deep in the X-Files.
I was always excited by the star hopping, planet busting, warp speed pushing and incredible manipulation of time fare that Star Trek offered up. Star Trek made the laws of physics seem like mere suggestions. As I grew older, I noted the political commentary. Star Trek was the Kennedy Administration in outer space. The Next Generation was the Reagan Administration in outer space. But is it really science bending and politics that keep us tuning in and, recently, buying tickets? I know my fascination with the X-Files had little to do with unexplained phenomena. Mulder and Scully's interaction is what kept me riveted. When Mulder disappeared into the nether regions of space near the end of the series Scully exclaimed in misery, "I'm lonely." And so was I.
Star Trek is a love story. The new movie by J.J. Abrams is fun, quick, far too unbelievable and a bit loopy from all the time traveling. The New Yorker film critic, Anthony Lane, dubbed it "highly illogical", which was no doubt derived from Spock's father's statement regarding why he married a human rather than a Vulcan. "I married your mother Spock, " explains a dour faced Vulcan, "because it was logical".
The repulsive attraction between Captain Kirk and Spock was illogical from a human perspective but entirely logical on an atomic level. After all, opposite charges do attract. Captain Kirk and Spock, one brawn the other brain, begin on unsteady ground. Spock accuses Kirk of cheating, which given Kirk's nonchalant and overconfident attitude the suspicions may well have been valid. But before long we are zipping through space and Kirk and Spock engage in verbal sparring and physical sparring. But it is the growing trust and respect that captured my attention. As the movie ends and we are given one last glimpse of the Enterprise I found myself eager for the further exploration of a beneficial and lasting friendship rather than space travel and explosions on an operatic scale.
Modern society pays scant attention to friendship. The ancient philosophers, such as Aristotle, Plato and Cicero, devoted chapters to explaining what a good friend is, what a bad friend is and whether one should ever compromise their morals for a friend. Modern men and women live in boxes. We close ourselves off before we open ourselves up. I am not refuting that many people have 'drinking buddies' but sharing a pint while watching the Lakers is greatly different from forming an emotional bond that gets you through the proverbial 'thick and thin'. Part of the problem is that modern society expects men and women to find their sustenance through marriage. But attempting to get nourishment only from marriage over several decades is like attempting to get nourishment only from cupcakes.
A recent study regarding friends found that "friends can be our best weapon in times of adversity, as they strengthen our resolve. One study asked people to rate the gradient of a hill, and anticipate how difficult they would find it to climb. People who rated the hill in the presence of a friend saw the slope as less steep - and the closer they felt to the friend they were with, the easier the climb appeared".
If you want to live long and prosper find a good friend to help you wade through the twists and turns of time.
Kirk and Spock forever.